Website offers way for alumni to share stories of their lives

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WATERTOWN — Watertown High School alumni Colleen Murphy wants to share the stories of her fellow graduates. To that end, she has created the website Town, found at www.townmag.co.

“I started thinking about it in college,” Mr. Murphy said. “I was doing a lot of cool things, travelling, doing internships; in high school, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.”

Ms. Murphy, a 2009 WHS graduate, noted that Watertown didn’t have an alumni network for graduates to share their stories and experiences. She wanted to tell the stories of the little guy, not just the “heroes” that other alumni groups seem to focus on. She wanted to tell the stories of teachers and people who fix the roads.

Town collaborators include Miranda Weidemier, Chelsea Kyle, Julian Focareta, Chad Boulier, Mike Garceau and Demosthenes Gakidis.

According to townmag.co, “We are out to connect and strengthen Watertown High School. Through creativity, honesty, and empathy, we are determined to create a more informed WHS class. Our mission is to tell real and raw stories of success and failure to bridge the gap between alumni and current students. This is a new kind of alumni network where we value ‘success’ with an open mind.”....... Read More

Read more from Town Times

UConn Alumni: We Need Your Help

The current proposed state budget will cut $200 million to $300 million dollars from UConn over two years and will affect funding for research programs, Division I athletic teams, financial aid and scholarship funds.

This can directly impact our WHS community. 20% of TOWN Mag's alumni who submitted stories went to University of Connecticut. On top of that, around 50% went to state schools including Central Connecticut State University and Eastern Connecticut State University. As Watertown is a middle class community, these cuts will directly affect students who do not have enough resources to attend UConn; cuts will affect financial aid and scholarship funds.

Our very own WHS townie and UConn MD Candidate, Adam Bartholomeo, spoke out last week against these budget cuts. 

"The level of cuts proposed could make UConn School of Medicine and Dental Medicine and Urban Scholars unaffordable for many students/families, potentially shut down programs like UST, and drive excellent students and our future workforce away from the state, perhaps permanently. Connecticut needs knowledgeable doctors, and an investment in UConn SoM/DM is an investment in CT’s own workforce."

Read more of Adam's statement here.

Want to get involved? Reach out now to your local state legislators. Call, write, or e-mail that you are against the budget cuts to UConn. One of our representatives is also a WHS alumni and may agree that these budget cuts to UConn directly affect our Watertown community.

Joe Polletta, joe.polletta@housegop.ct.gov860.240.8700

Eric Berthel Eric.Berthel@cga.ct.gov860.240.8800


We are curious to see just how many WHS Alumni went to UConn for their education. We're waiting to hear back from the high school from their data, but in the meanwhile, let us know if you attended UConn.

Source: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-uconn-s...

Life In Watertown Survey

We had a little fun asking Juniors at Watertown High School about life in Watertown. The results were pretty hilarious to read and brought us back to our high school days. Some were really positive responses, but a lot were negative outlooks on Watertown (we asked students to make a hashtag for Watertown and one response was #dontcomeheretohavefun).

Of course, the negative responses make us question how the town and community can step up it's game. We are all for adding a skate park (one request from the survey), which has been something townie teenagers have dreamed of for years. We guess the town budget would have to pass first before we think the town will get a skate park, but hey, a townie can dream. On a serious note, we think that more things for teenage townies to do would really be a benefit the community overall and we're all for supporting these type of community initiatives.

The responses really brought us back to the days when we used to say, “I can’t wait to get out of this town.” Now that we are out.. well.. we love going back.

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After High School - Money Survey

We asked students about money and their understanding of loans, interest, and finances. We won’t lie, these results weren’t exactly straight A’s. We found that many students feel confused or unconfident when it comes to finances. We’re now wondering how the community can help make information about money, finances, and loans more accessible and understandable to all students so that they can make solid financial decisions. Let's get to 100% of students who understand loans, interest, and feel confident in their finances. 

After High School Survey

In January of 2017, Juniors at WHS took a survey from TOWN Mag in their SSP class. Our goal was to get a picture of who students are, what they want to be, and where they are going. The answers we received were positive and inspiring. We can tell from their interests they are a diverse set of students, but many share the same hopes and dreams for a bright future. They are a confident, determined group of students and we are excited that they’ll soon join us in being WHS alumni.

Watertown Ancestry: A Look at Our Diversity

We think diversity can serve a community and allow it to be more prosperous, interesting and empathetic. Also, who wouldn't want ten delicious pizza shops to choose from? At some point in time, our ancestry leads us back to immigration (for most of us in the US). Ancestry is one's family or ethnic descent (the evolutionary or genetic line of descent of an animal or plant). A few weeks ago we asked Juniors at Watertown High School about their ancestry and ethnicities. We were curious to hear about the diverse set of students that walked the halls and the families that have helped shape our community.

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We asked how many generations of family have lived in Watertown. Exactly 50% of students surveyed said they are second or third generation living in town. The chart to the right represents our findings. We also asked students about their ancestry and an overwhelming amount of students come from Italy, Ireland, and Albania. Also, around 33% of students reported having multiple ethnicities. Now we are wondering, are you a WHS alumni and where do you come from?

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Townie Turned VP: Matt Frappier

Matt Frappier

Matt Frappier, 2001, New York, New York

What are you up to? I work as a Vice President in charge of Earned Media at Edelman, a global PR firm based in New York City. To break it down, I work with consumer brands that we interact with every day (think Dove, AXE, Porsche, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HEINEKEN, the list goes on on and on...) and develop strategies to generate coverage in the news.

How'd you get here? It's been a long road getting here! After high school I entered Iona College as a journalism major. I was going to change the world writing stories for the New York Times.. until I took a copy editing class that nearly killed me. My academic advisor suggested I switch my major to Public Relations and the rest was history. Given that my college was so close to NYC I was able to intern throughout my last year in school and kickstart my career. After graduation I looked high and low for jobs LITERALLY pounding the pavement all summer going on interview after interview until something finally came up. Sadly, what I thought would be my dream job wound up with me being laid off. So, I regrouped moved back home and figured everything out.

Little did I know that six weeks later I would get an offer that would literally change my life and actually get me on the right path. Since that fateful day in April 2006 I have done anything you can possibly imagine - plan hotel openings on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, handle programs on behalf of people like Arianna Huffington and even take celebrities to the secret 103rd floor of the Empire State Building! I am thankful for everything I have done and where my career is headed.

What are your goals? I want to continue to evolve and grow in my career. Even though I have been doing this for over a decade now the industry is changing and to stay relevant I need to continue to grow with it.

Advice for WHS Students? NEVER GIVE UP. After I got laid off I was so disappointed and depressed, but after a couple days I got myself up and started interviewing for jobs. If I had never done that I doubt that I would be anywhere near as successful as I am today.

What do you feel grateful for today? I am grateful for everything I have achieved, it's been a long, crazy ride and I am thankful for everything that has been and that will be.